Coronavirus: ‘Everything is being done two weeks too late’

Infectious diseases professor says Government needs to own lockdown exit plan

A woman waits for her train to Portlaoise at Heuston Station on Thursday. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

A woman waits for her train to Portlaoise at Heuston Station on Thursday. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

Jack Lambert, Professor in Infectious Diseases at the Mater, Rotunda and UCD school of Medicine has said that the government needs to “step up” and take ownership of “every step” in the plan “to get out of lockdown”.

Prof Lambert told Newstalk Breakfast that the government should “get everyone in a room” like the Manhattan Project during the second World War where experts in various fields came together to create the nuclear bomb.

“There are huge delays in making decisions, everything is being done two weeks too late. This is an emergency, people are still being infected. We need a different plan to get out of lockdown.”

Prof Lambert warned that if restrictions were lifted now the situation would soon be the same as it was four weeks ago. “There is still Covid-19 in the community. There is no immunity and no vaccine. It could flare up again.”

The government needs to “get all its ducks in a row to come out of lockdown. This is a very transmissible disease”.

Healthcare workers, even those wearing PPE are still being infected, he said. Shops offering baby wipes was not good enough.

“I think somebody needs to take ownership of every step. There should be a task force like the Manhattan project – get everyone in a room.”

Prof Lambert also said that everybody should be wearing masks “when out and about” and that contact tracing needs to be done within 24 hours. “I don’t understand why it is taking six days, they could be infecting many others in those six days.”

Many thousands are not being tested because they have not displayed symptoms. There have been fewer cases in the community because of the lockdown. “We’ve plateaued but it is not going away.” If restrictions are lifted then cases could go up again, he warned.